It has been quite a difficult time for Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews, who just returned to team practice after missing action and being deemed unfit to play earlier this week.
While he was back skating on Thursday, he was also hit by an off-ice controversy as it was reported that he opposed the return-to-play plan and CBA extension ratified by the NHL and NHLPA in early July.
The Blackhawks and the Carolina Hurricanes were the only teams two to vote against the league’s proposal when the NHLPA’s executive board took its most recent tally, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman said on “31 Thoughts: The Podcast” on July 16.
“I have been told by many, many, many people that one of the most vocal players during the process of coming back to play was Jonathan Toews, that he asked a lot of questions,” Friedman said.
“A couple of guys told me at times they thought Toews was a real pain in the butt for some of the people at the NHLPA, but it was from a place that had good intentions,” Friedman added.
That did not sit well with Toews, who denied his opposition to the Chicago Sun Times after his return to the ice.
“I’ll be completely honest, I don’t know how much I want to get into my reasons why, but I wasn’t one of the guys who voted no,” said Toews, the Blackhawks’ representative in the NHL Players Association.
“I voted yes. If anything, I kind of wanted the guys in our room to educate themselves on what was going on to the best of their ability, and ultimately make their own decision. But deep down, I wanted guys to really think about voting yes. That’s where I stood.”
“From what I understand, it was Elliotte Friedman who made a comment on a podcast, and I don’t know where he got that from,” Toews added. “I don’t know…who maybe who gave him the impression that I voted no.”
Toews missed half of Monday’s practice and all of Tuesday’s practice, and was declared “unfit to participate” by Jeremy Colliton after the latter. He however explained that his absence was merely “maintenance.”
Another controversy on the way?